Collaborating remotely using Google products should get a little easier soon thanks to Smart Canvas, which aims to better integrate Google Workspace products like Google Meet, Google Sheets, and Google Docs.
Essentially, Google is pitching a future where all of its Workspace apps work better together. During his keynote at Google I/O today company CEO Sundar Pichai said Smart Canvas will debut this fall with new features that mimic contemporary remote collaboration tools like Slack. You’ll be able to type an @ symbol before someone’s name in a collaborative Google Doc to assign them to a task, for example, or start a Google Meet call directly from a shared Google Doc.
It would be hard not to feel a sense of familiarity about Google Smart Canvas, it’s got a hint of long-dead project Google Wave to it. Introduced 11 years ago, Google Wave was supposed to be a new approach to project management. Designed to tie media, chat and project management together it caused a lot of excitement at the time. However it never took off, and Google handed the project to Apache in December 2010. Apache kept it in its incubator for eight years, finally shutting it down in 2018.
Perhaps Wave was ahead of its time, but with the global pandemic we’ve certainly needed to find new ways of working together. Perhaps now is the time for Google’s new collaboration tool, which may well be the result of what it learned with Wave.